Cablegate: Information On Security Dialogue with Russia

DE RUEHMO #2754/01 3131546
R 091546Z NOV 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 002754



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/09/2019

REF: STATE 112900

Classified By: Political M/C Susan M. Elliott for reasons 1.4 (b) and (

1. (SBU) The USG and GOR have four existing, formal
mechanisms for conducting security dialogues with the Russian
Federation; all four are scheduled yearly.

1) Joint Staff Talks (JSTs): This event is hosted annually
by U.S. Joint Staff J-5 or the GOR Chief of the Main OPS
Directorate on a rotational basis. The agenda is dynamic,
but is typically focused on international military/security
issues, mil-to-mil (M2M) cooperation, and transparency as
nominated by the respective sides.

2) Bilateral Defense Consultations (BDCs): Hosted by ASD/ISA
and the Director of International Relations, Russian MoD on a
rotational basis. Agenda is more policy and pol-mil
oriented, but it is subject to items nominated by the
respective sides.

3) General Officer/Flag Officer Discussions (GO/FO):
Alternatively hosted by EUCOM J5 and GOR MoD equivalent;
agenda is more narrowly focused on AOR issues and developing
direction for construction of the bilateral workplan (WP).

4) US-GOR Colonels Working Group (CWG): Objective is to
discuss and nominate events for the following year's WP. In
practice, they meet more than once per year, alternating
sites between Stuttgart and Moscow.

2. (SBU) In addition, as a result of the Presidential summit
in Moscow in July, the Presidents directed their respective
senior military officers to establish a military-to-military
working group under the auspices of the Bilateral
Presidential Commission. The primary objective of this group
will be to enhance military cooperation consistent with the
Presidents' broader cooperative agenda.

3. (SBU) In practice, CJSC and CHOD will conduct 2-3 day
counterpart visits every other year, with discussion agendas
and visit venues to be determined by the respective sides.
Ad hoc engagements vary, based upon interests of the
respective sides. In the past these have included:

--STRATCOM-Strategic Rocket Forces;

--U.S. Air Forces Europe-GOR Air Force;


-Incidents at sea/Main Navy Staff talks between U.S. and

-GO/FO delegation exchanges between EUCOM Component Commands
and elements of the Russian Armed Forces.

4. (SBU) We believe dialogue was first established by mutual
consent in the late 1980s. The frequency of these meetings
has been determined by informal understanding.

5. (SBU) The most recent CJCS-CHOD security dialogue meeting
came when the CJCS came to Moscow July 6-9. No set schedule
determines the frequency of such meetings, but the event is
placed on the WP and dates are left to respective sides to
negotiate. The next scheduled meetings are:

--JSTs: December 14-18;

--BDCs: Although featured as an event on the 2009 WP, they
will probably not be executed this year due to ongoing
military reforms and personnel shifts within GOR MoD;

--GO/FO Consultations: TBD;

--CWG: November 17-19;

--INCSEA/Main Navy Staff Talks: December 10-11 in Moscow.

6. (SBU) The USG and GOR expect officers to meet with their
rank/position equivalents.

7. (C/NF) While useful and meaningful exchanges do take place
during the contacts discussed above, a number of challenges

MOSCOW 00002754 002 OF 002

in effecting real, substantive and ongoing
Military-to-Military (M2M) dialogues exist. These challenges

1) Lack of Russian transparency and reciprocity: The GOR MoD
has not changed its modus operandi for information exchange
nor routine dialoguing since the end of the Cold War. For
example, Russian delegations routinely refuse to share their
briefing materials with us, even when presented with formal
requests for these materials. Representatives of the GOR MoD
are closely monitored by their Military Intelligence (GRU)
handlers, and are loathe to engage in any dialogues outside
of tightly controlled statements recited from prepared texts.
While U.S. hosts will often invite Russian MoD delegations
to different bases for tours and exchanges, U.S. delegations
are rarely afforded visits anywhere but dedicated conference
facilities at MoD HQ in Moscow. Access to Russian academic
institutions is particularly problematic. Visiting U.S.
delegations from Senior Service Schools are afforded, at
best, a one-hour visit at MoD HQ to meet with a single
representative of the GOR MoD External Liaison Division.
Despite deliberate U.S. transparency regarding its actions in
Russia's "near abroad," the Russian MoD is loathe to provide
information about its activities. A recent example occurred
over the last six months: while the US provided information
to Russia concerning our limited training activities with the
Georgian Armed Forces, Russia provided no information
regarding a series of Collective Security Treaty Organization
exercises occurring in Belarus and Kazakhstan involving some
12,000 Russian troops.

2) Coordinating DoD Relations with Russia: Russia was
integrated into the EUCOM AOR as a result of the publication
of the 2002 Unified Command Plan (UCP). Russia, however,
resents the "delegation" of its relations to a "regional
command" and refuses to interract with EUCOM on a continuing,
formal basis. DoD efforts to date have managed to gain some
recognition by Russia of EUCOM's role in the M2M
relationship. For example, Russia has not accepted
initiatives to conduct a COM EUCOM-CHOD exchange. Efforts
need to continue along these lines to formalize the

3) Lack of Continuity/Followup: While exchanges with the
Russians have been executed according to the U.S.-Russia
Bilateral Workplan (WP), they have suffered from a lack of
continuity. This is often characterized by a lack of
formally acknowledged minute and action items. In many ways,
every meeting therefore is similar to a "restart" of a new
forum, rather than a continuation of an extablished venue
with review of previous business, followup actions, etc.

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